Dollars and Jens
Saturday, April 30, 2011
Berkshire Hathaway Meeting
Both Buffett and Munger say most investors are better off in an index fund than trying to pick stocks. Munger says that Berkshire would be good as a second investment.

Buffett chimes in: “Charlie’s big on lowering expectations."

Munger shoots back: “Absolutely. That’s how I got married.”
The Berkshire Hathaway meeting is being liveblogged by the WSJ.

Thursday, April 28, 2011
I 08II 08III 08IV 08I 09II 09III 09IV 09I 10II 10III 10IV 10I 11
Gross domestic product-.7.6-4.0-6.8-4.9-.
Nondurable goods-.50.31-.91-.78.06-.
Durable goods-.92-.23-.95-1.79.35-.211.35-.
Change in private inventories-.49-.48-.12-2.31-1.09-
Fixed investment-.98-.69-1.83-4.01-5.71-1.26.12-.12.392.
Net exports of goods and services.841.04-.631.502.881.47-1.371.90-.31-3.50-1.703.27-.08
Government spending.44.651.04.31-.611.24.33-.28-.32.80.79-.34-1.09

Not a good report, but the hope is that the drop-off is temporary, driven by weather in January and February; there is some initial indication that the economy picked up again in March. (If that's true, it may even show up in revisions to today's release, as sometimes not all of the last month's data make it to the advanced report.)


Wednesday, April 27, 2011
The FOMC statement, as revised:

Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in January suggests March indicates that the economic recovery is on a firmer footing, proceeding at a moderate pace and overall conditions in the labor market appear to be are improving gradually.  Household spending and business investment in equipment and software continue to expand.  However, investment in nonresidential structures is still weak, and the housing sector continues to be depressed.  Commodity prices have risen significantly since the last summer, and concerns about global supplies of crude oil have contributed to a sharp run-up further increase in oil prices in recent weeks since the Committee met in March. Nonetheless,   Inflation has picked up in recent months, but longer-term inflation expectations have remained stable, and measures of underlying inflation have been are still subdued.

Consistent with its statutory mandate, the Committee seeks to foster maximum employment and price stability. Currently, the   The unemployment rate remains elevated, and measures of underlying inflation continue to be somewhat low, relative to levels that the Committee judges to be consistent, over the longer run, with its dual mandate. The recent increases   Increases in the prices of energy and other commodities are currently putting upward pressure on inflation have pushed up inflation in recent months.  The Committee expects these effects to be transitory, but it will pay close attention to the evolution of inflation and inflation expectations.  The Committee continues to anticipate a gradual return to higher levels of resource utilization in a context of price stability.

To promote a stronger pace of economic recovery and to help ensure that inflation, over time, is at levels consistent with its mandate, the Committee decided today to continue expanding its holdings of securities as announced in November.  In particular, the Committee is maintaining its existing policy of reinvesting principal payments from its securities holdings and intends to purchase will complete purchases of $600 billion of longer-term Treasury securities by the end of the second quarter of 2011. current quarter.  The Committee will regularly review the pace size and composition of its securities purchases and the overall size of the asset-purchase program holdings in light of incoming information and will adjust the program is prepared to adjust those holdings as needed to best foster maximum employment and price stability.

The Committee will maintain the target range for the federal funds rate at 0 to 1/4 percent and continues to anticipate that economic conditions, including low rates of resource utilization, subdued inflation trends, and stable inflation expectations, are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels for the federal funds rate for an extended period. 

The Committee will continue to monitor the economic outlook and financial developments and will employ its policy tools as necessary to support the economic recovery and to help ensure that inflation, over time, is at levels consistent with its mandate.

Voting for the FOMC monetary policy action were: Ben S. Bernanke, Chairman; William C. Dudley, Vice Chairman; Elizabeth A. Duke; Charles L. Evans; Richard W. Fisher; Narayana Kocherlakota; Charles I. Plosser; Sarah Bloom Raskin; Daniel K. Tarullo; and Janet L. Yellen.

Today, for the first time, Bernanke is holding a press conference in connection with the FOMC meeting; that will begin at 2:15 Eastern Time.


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